What began 17 years ago to supplement track program has grown

Published in the March 30 – April 12, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Staff Report

Local Morgan Hill Unified School District athletes have better equipment thanks to the annual South Valley Auction, the premiere food and wine event that raises tens of thousands of dollars to supplement the athletics programs at Live Oak and Sobrato high schools as well as Britton and Martin Murphy middle schools. The event also funds scholarships given to senior athletes at Live Oak and Sobrato High Schools.

This will be the 18th annual event for a popular gala that’s a fun way for the community to support the education of students through athletics. Last year, the auction raised $38,000. Parents and students from both high school boosters clubs volunteer their time in making the event happen.

Both the Live Oak and Sobrato booster clubs participate and use the money to pay for items such as footballs and basketballs. Live Oak used the money to install a new sound system for the football field. Money also goes to pay for cleaning equipment for the gym. In past years, money raised by the auction has helped Sobrato purchase a portable scoreboard for indoor sports as well as the football field, folding chairs for the gym, a water polo clock and $10,000 in weight room equipment.

This year, attendees will sample gourmet food and wine from more than 20 Morgan Hill area restaurants and local wineries, while bidding on an extensive array of silent auction items. Keys to unlock a refrigerated “vault” loaded with dozens of bottles of fine wines, will be for sale as well.
The night concludes with the live auction featuring a variety of items for fine dining, get-aways, jewelry, sports items, and of course…wine. Returning for her twelfth year as host will be, 94.5 KBAY’s Jona Denz-Hamilton, who will team up with auctioneer, Mark Turner, a Morgan Hill resident and president of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce.

“As a longtime volunteer for SVWA, I’m humbled and impressed with the coordination, cooperation, commitment, generosity and loyalty of so many volunteers, donors, sponsors, restaurateurs and wineries,” said Eva Musgrove, restaurant committee member. “I love helping and giving back to our community’s student athletes. In 2006, I started volunteering, working with Live Oak High School’s former Cross Country & Track Coach Dean Raymond after he instituted a scholarship in my son’s name. The annual Chris Quezada Cross Country & Track Memorial scholarship sends youth the message that you can be a scholar and an athlete with good character at the same time, and you can be recognized for it. How awesome is that?”

About 20 committee members are actively involved in making the event successful.

The organization has grown to broaden its mission in the past 17 years since it was founded. The first auction was held in 1999 as a fundraiser for the track and running programs at Live Oak. During the years, it expanded to support all athletic programs in the Morgan Hill Unified School District.